This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Learn more

Skip to main content

Talk to an expert 1-800-242-2434 Lines open now

User menu
Lilongwe

Latitude 13, a handy spot to overnight in Lilongwe

Lilongwe

Lilongwe

The capital city of Malawi stands at an altitude of 1,050m, in the shallow valley of the Lilongwe River.

Although Lilongwe holds little of interest for most travellers, it’s quite central to the country and not an unpleasant place to spend a night, so most visits to Malawi will pass through here at least once.

Lilongwe consists of two contrasting parts, the smart, modern Capital City and the streets and markets of the Old Town:

To the south of Lilongwe, the Old Town is almost indistinguishable from other small African towns. Here you’ll find a real mix of commercial, residential and industrial buildings. The numerous shops, markets, cafes and restaurants found here sell nearly everything imaginable.

Planned and built mainly in the late 60s and 70s, Lilongwe’s new town, to the north, the Capital City or City Centre, is the most modern and developed area of Malawi’s capital. Broad avenues bordered by flowerbeds lead along high, shiny white buildings – mainly banks, hotels, embassies and offices. This area hasn’t got a lot of character, but one can’t argue that it isn’t very clean and tidy.
Close to the City Centre, Capital Hill holds more than a dozen office blocks, mainly containing government ministries. Public access is normally not possible, yet occasionally guided tours may be arranged.

Lilongwe

Lilongwe: in detail

Our top trips in Malawi

Here are 6 great Malawi trips to inspire you.


Map

Utaka Cichlid Safari

10 days • 3 locations • 1 country
BLANTYRE AIRPORT TO LILONGWE AIRPORT

Explore two of Malawi's safari parks - Majete Wildlife Reserve and Liwonde National Park - before finishing your trip with some beach time relaxing, snorkelling and sailing in Lake Malawi National Park.

Visiting Lakeshore, Majete and 1 other area

US$3,730 - US$4,240 per person

Read more about the Utaka Cichlid Safari

Map

Red Zebra Cichlid Safari

7 days • 2 locations • 1 country
BLANTYRE AIRPORT TO LILONGWE AIRPORT

Explore two of Malawi's highlights with a safari in rugged, remote Majete Wildlife Reserve before some beach time relaxing, snorkelling and sailing in Lake Malawi National Park.

Visiting Lakeshore, Majete

US$3,350 - US$4,200 per person

Read more about the Red Zebra Cichlid Safari

Map

Orange Cap Cichlid Safari

7 days • 2 locations • 1 country
LILONGWE AIRPORT TO LILONGWE AIRPORT

Combine a safari in the lush and resurgent Liwonde National Park with down time at an island eco-retreat in the middle of Lake Malawi. A great way to explore Malawi.

Visiting Lakeshore, Liwonde

US$3,860 - US$4,360 per person

Read more about the Orange Cap Cichlid Safari

Map

Hyena Safari

11 days • 4 locations • 2 country
VICTORIA FALLS AIRPORT TO LILONGWE AIRPORT

Mix relaxation and adventure on a safari combining the South Luangwa with Victoria Falls and the beaches of Lake Malawi. These three locations are among the most iconic in southern Africa.

Visiting Livingstone, South Luangwa and 1 other area

US$6,580 - US$8,420 per person

Read more about the Hyena Safari

Map

Peacock Cichlid Safari

4 days • 1 location • 1 country
LILONGWE AIRPORT TO LILONGWE AIRPORT

Snorkel in Lake Malawi’s famously clear freshwater, relax on the beach and explore Likoma Island from the award-winning Kaya Mawa. A chilled luxury add-on to end your safari.

Visiting Likoma Island

US$1,940 - US$2,520 per person

Read more about the Peacock Cichlid Safari

Map

Blue Neon Cichlid Safari

4 days • 1 location • 1 country
LILONGWE AIRPORT TO LILONGWE AIRPORT

Four nights at a charming eco-camp on Mumbo Island in Lake Malawi National Park surrounded by some of the world’s best freshwater snorkelling. A great value end to your safari.

Visiting Lakeshore

US$2,010 - US$2,150 per person

Read more about the Blue Neon Cichlid Safari

Inspire me

Need inspiration?

Let our trip chooser narrow down the options for you

Inspire me

Map of Lilongwe

Choices for where to stay in Lilongwe


Most recent reviews of our trips to Lilongwe

Click below to browse all 5 reviews from Lilongwe.
All from our travellers; all are in full & unedited.


100%
5 reviews since August 2007
Excellent
5
Good
0
Average
0
Poor
0
Terrible
0
Mr M & Ms T from Ongar

Arrived 31 May 2019, 12 nights

"My May 2019 trip"

"We enjoyed the whole trip very much..very friendly people …" Read Mr M & Ms T’s full holiday review

Overall rating: Excellent

Ms A & Mr M from Lagos

Arrived 17 Aug 2018, 9 nights

"Another superb trip.."

"Its always a pleasure dealing with the staff of Expert Africa! …" Read Ms A & Mr M’s full holiday review

Overall rating: Excellent

Mr B from Hertfordshire

Arrived 11 Dec 2016, 17 nights

"Excellent support"

"Excellent support.. Very well constructed itinerary.. for most part ran smoothly …" Read Mr B’s full holiday review

Overall rating: Excellent

See all Lilongwe reviews

When to go to Lilongwe

Our month by month guide: What it's like to visit Lilongwe in Malawi


Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

Malawi in January

January is the middle of the rainy season in Malawi. You can expect heavy rain for a few hours most days with some occasional flooding. It is generally hot and wet, with temperatures reaching over 30ºC.
The landscape is green and lush and the air crystal clear. In the game reserves the thick bush can restrict animal sightings, making game viewing more challenging. With the abundance of water available the wildlife disperses and is no longer concentrated around water sources. However, many species give birth at this time of the year and it is a great time for birding.
Although the majority of the safari camps are open at this time, most of the beach lodges along the lakeshore close in mid January.

  • Peak of the rainy season with thundershowers most days
  • Many animals are with young & birdlife is at its most spectacular
  • Bush lush & green; animals dispersed so game viewing more difficult
  • Air is clear & dust-free, which is great for photography
  • Majority of lakeside beach lodges are closed second half of January

Our view

This is not a great time to visit

Weather in January

Malawi in February

February is generally the wettest month and still the heart of the rainy season, with dramatic thunderstorms interspersed with sunny spells.
Expect some flooding and the ground to be waterlogged. The thick bush still affects game viewing on land, and walking safaris are limited, but game viewing by boat on the swollen Shire River, in both Liwonde National Park and Majete Game Reserve, is a highlight. Birdlife is also at its most spectacular at this time of year.
Visitor numbers and costs at the few open camps are low. Most of the beach lodges remain closed, with only one or two open all year.

  • Peak of the rainy season with thundershowers most days
  • The bush feels alive; birdlife is at its most spectacular
  • Good for photography but poor game viewing
  • Few tourists, so rates usually at their lowest
  • Majority of lakeside beach lodges are still closed

Our view

This is not a great time to visit

Weather in February

Malawi in March

The rainy season is nearing the end in Malawi. The thunderstorms become fewer with sunnier days, but you can still expect some rain most days. March is one of the last of the summer months with temperatures still around 25–30ºC most days.
On safari the thick bush still restricts game viewing and walking safaris are limited too, with the larger animal species being quite elusive. On the plus side, migrant birds make the most of the abundant insect life. This time of the year is also great for keen photographers with the vivid green landscape and clear, dust-free air.
The beach lodges are also starting to open again around mid-March, following the rainy season.

  • Expect to experience some rain most days
  • The bush feels alive, with birdlife still a highlight
  • Good for photography but game viewing remains poor
  • With few tourists, rates generally at their lowest
  • Beach lodges now open from mid-March

Our view

This is not a great time to visit

Weather in March

Malawi in April

April is a month of change in Malawi. The days start to cool down, rainfall decreases, and summer turns into autumn as the dry season approaches. Temperatures drop to around 25 ºC during the day with the evenings becoming cooler.
This is the tail-end of the green season and, after five months of rain, the landscape remains green and lush, with game viewing still a challenge. However, the birdlife is still great, and the improving weather attracts more visitors to both the bush and the beaches along the Malawi lakeshore.

  • The temperatures are cooling down but still expect the odd rain shower
  • Start of the dry season with mostly clear and sunny days
  • Bush still green & lush: good for photography but not for game viewing
  • Very few visitors, and still one of the cheapest times to visit
  • The lakeshore beach lodges are now all open

Our view

A good time to visit, with pros & cons

Weather in April

Malawi in May

May is the end of summer and the first month of the dry season. There may still be the occasional shower, but clear sunny skies are becoming the norm. As winter approaches, daytime temperatures drop to a comfortable 20–25 ºC, but at night they’re down to around 10ºC, so warm clothing is advisable for early- morning game drives.
As the rain disappears the landscape starts to dry out. Although the vegetation is still thick, the game viewing starts to improve and walking safaris becoming more reliable. Birding is still excellent, too. Around the lakeshore, temperatures can be significantly warmer, making beach holidays popular at this time of the year. Yet visitor numbers remain low, making May one of the most cost-effective times to visit.

  • Start of the dry season with mostly clear & sunny days
  • Temperatures are mild along the lakeshore so good for a beach stay
  • Bush still green & lush but game viewing improving
  • Good for photography & great birdlife
  • Very few visitors, & still one of the cheapest times to visit

Our view

A good time to visit, with pros & cons

Weather in May

Malawi in June

June is entirely in the dry season, and – along with May – can also be one of the coldest months. With no rain, clear skies and temperatures dropping to around 20–25ºC during the day, the nights can be cold, reaching around 10ºC. Warm clothing is advisable for early-morning and late-afternoon game drives.
The landscape remains lush, but the bush starts to die back significantly, bringing a marked improvement in wildlife viewing. This, along with cooler temperatures, makes June ideal for walking safaris. Temperatures around the lakeshore tend to be significantly warmer, so June is another popular month for beach holidays with higher visitor numbers.

  • Well into the dry season with sunny days & cool temperatures
  • Thick bush is dying back, & game viewing improves
  • Increased visibility & cool weather perfect for walking safaris
  • Mild temperatures along the lakeshore: good for a beach stay
  • June is still low season : a popular time before high season starts

Our view

A very good time to visit

Weather in June

Malawi in July

July is the middle of the dry season in Malawi, with temperatures starting to pick up towards the end of the month. This makes July a good time for both safaris and beach holidays. Expect it to be pleasant during the day but still cold at night, especially at high altitude such as Nyika Plateau; blankets and hot water bottles are often provided on safari.
As the vegetation dies back, animals start to congregate around perennial water sources, making this one of the best times of year for game viewing.
July is also the start of high season and all the camps increase their rates to make the most of the improving game and the start of the international holiday period.

  • Warm dry days with crisp cold nights
  • Significantly improved game viewing
  • No limit on walking safaris, with pleasant temperatures a plus
  • Temperatures along the lakeshore ideal for beach and watersports
  • Approaching peak season, so significant increase in costs

Our view

A very good time to visit

Weather in July

Malawi in August

August is well into the dry season with game concentrated around water sources and the safari season approaching its best. The landscape is changing from green to brown and the air is becoming drier and dustier. There is also a lot of smoke in the air as burning of trees and vegetation is prevalent in Malawi, so this isn’t the best time for photography.
Later in August the temperatures start to pick up, but early mornings and late evenings are still cooler – particularly out on open game drives where warm jackets, gloves and scarves are recommended.
August is one of the most popular months. Pleasant weather and good game viewing attracts lots of visitors, and costs are correspondingly high.

  • Warm dry days with crisp cold nights still the norm
  • Game viewing at its best
  • No limits on walking safaris, with pleasant temperatures a bonus
  • Lakeshore temperatures remain good for beach and water sports
  • Still peak season, with attendant high costs

Our view

Fantastic: the very best time to visit

Weather in August

Malawi in September

This is the most popular time of the year for a safari. There has been no rain for months and temperatures are starting to increase, making morning and evening game drives more comfortable. Daytime temperatures are now above 30ºC and evening temperatures relatively mild.
Game viewing is at its best with the animals concentrating around the reducing water sources, making wildlife interactions more common.
With the increasing heat the air becomes more hazy, reducing photographic opportunities and distant views.
This is a good time to finish a safari with some relaxing time along the Malawi lakeshore. Costs, though, are high, and camps can be booked up months in advance.

  • Dry & hot during the day with clear skies & warm nights
  • One of the best months for wildlife viewing
  • Dust & smoke creates a haze; not great for photography
  • Temperatures along the lakeshore perfect for beach and watersports
  • Peak season; camps are expensive & often full well in advance

Our view

Fantastic: the very best time to visit

Weather in September

Malawi in October

This is the last month of the dry season: the start of summer with temperatures peaking over 40ºC during the day and hardly less than 20ºC at night. This makes early-morning and late-evening game drives more comfortable but can be terribly hot during the day and makes walking safaris very challenging.
The landscape is very dry and brown, so not ideal for photography, but game viewing remains at its best. With the lack of water the animals are all vying for the best spot to drink without being preyed upon.
October is the perfect time to finish a safari with some relaxing time along the Malawi lakeshore. It is still peak season, though, and costs remain high.

  • Dry, hot days with clear skies; warm nights
  • One of the best months for wildlife viewing
  • The haze from dust & smoke is not great for photography
  • Warm lakeshore temperatures still good for beach & watersports
  • Peak season; camps are expensive & often full well in advance

Our view

A very good time to visit

Weather in October

Malawi in November

November marks the end of the dry season and the start of the rainy season. Temperatures continue to increase with humidity building as the rains approach, which can be any time during the month. Be prepared for spectacular thunderstorms and short sharp showers.
After the first rains the bush springs back to life and wildlife disperses, making game viewing harder. Birding, though, is on the up – and with the air washed clean, photographic opportunities improve.
The first week or two are a good time to travel as the camps have reduced their rates and rains may not have started in earnest. However, while all the camps and beach lodges remain open some of the airstrips may become waterlogged, making road transfers more practical.

  • Typically the start of the wet season; very hot & humid
  • Increased chance of heavy rain as the month progresses
  • Greatly diminished game viewing once the rains arrive
  • A good time for photographers & keen birders
  • Lower rates at camps and beach lodges, with fewer visitors

Our view

A good time to visit, with pros & cons

Weather in November

Malawi in December

December is the first full month of the rainy season, with daily thundershowers expected, interspersed with sunny spells. Temperatures are around 30ºC with high humidity.
After a few weeks of rain, the abundance of standing water causes animals to disperse and the bush becomes thicker and greener, reducing visibility for game viewing. Conversely, this is when many animals produce their young, and is a great time for birdwatching. The rain also clears the air of dust and smoke, making it much more favourable for keen photographers.
December is still a good month to be along the lakeshore provided you don’t mind the afternoon rain showers.

  • Very hot & humid
  • Increased chance of heavy rain as the month progresses
  • Opportunities for game viewing decrease with the arrival of the rains
  • A great time for photographers & keen birders
  • Rates at camps & beach lodges fall, as do visitor numbers

Our view

A good time to visit, with pros & cons

Weather in December

Malawi fact file

Useful information and advice to help you prepare for a trip including Lilongwe.


Login to Expert Africa

Sign in with password

Sign in with email link


New to Expert Africa? Create an account

Forgotten your details?

It's free & quick to set up

  • Order a brochure
  • Save your wish-list
  • Send us an enquiry
  • Pay online for your trip
  • Subscribe to our newsletter
  • Give us feedback on your trip
  • Full site benefits of the site

Need some help? Talk to our team

Africa